Curtailed season was the right call, says Valley director Melvin - The Rugby Observer

Curtailed season was the right call, says Valley director Melvin

Rugby Editorial 16th Mar, 2021   0

THERE is hope for Rugby Town to return to the pitch before the 2021/22 season commences, in the view of Valley director Neil Melvin.

Carl Adams’ side recently had their United Counties Premier Division season curtailed after just 11 games completed, a total which always appeared insufficient regardless of calls to combine results from the 2019/20 campaign to decide the standings on a points-per-game basis.

Valley have been out of action since Boxing Day, when Town secured a 2-1 win at Northampton ON Chenecks in their final league outing of the season, leaving fans yearning for a return to Butlin Road.

And while there have been discussions of an inter-league cup competition to help tide United Counties League clubs over until the start of the new season, Melvin says Rugby are opposed to the concept, but will be hoping to get back playing as soon as possible in some other form.

“There are still a lot of unknowns at the moment with regards to restart dates and whether spectators would be allowed to even attend games,” he said.

“We also have to consider the impact of potentially playing on until the end of May would have on the pitch for next season.

“We generally like to get working on the surface as early as we can in May, so that we can be ready for the pre-season schedule in July.

“Once there is more clarity in terms of how restrictions are going to be eased, we will sit down with Carl and see what works best for the players and his plans for them, which hopefully will include some proper match action.”

Lee Thomas, right, in action during Rugby Town’s last outing at Butlin Road on December 22 – a 3-2 friendly defeat by FC Stratford. Picture: Martin Pulley.

While many clubs remain in limbo during the downtime between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns, there is both optimism for the forthcoming restart of competitive football in August, and meaningful reflection on a second season in succession to not be completed.

The story is no different at Rugby Town, who were in the majority of clubs to vote for the curtain to be brought down.

“It was the option that we voted for in the circulated questionnaire and it seemed the only viable solution considering how few games had been played,” Melvin added.

“It appears that the FA are still keen to pursue the possibility of carrying out their restructuring activities at our level – but we will have to wait and see how they intend doing this under the circumstances.

“It seemed unlikely that they would opt to use a points-per-game ratio based on the 2020/21 standings due to the lack of matches completed, and I wouldn’t have thought they could combine them with the 2019/20 records as they were officially declared null and void.”

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